Endless Strength Header

 photo blogheader-2.jpg

September 29, 2014

Monday Mumbles - 76

Good morning! It's Monday and I haven't done a Mumbles post in about a month. So, here you go!

1. I posted my results from completing the Paleo Challenge with the CrossFit box last night. In case you missed it. I'm pretty happy about those and motivated to keep on going with the nutrition changes.

2. This weekend, I was talking with Dominic about school. He's very excited that his class is getting a new student today. He was listing off the "SuperKids" the new student would need to complete before being all caught up with the class. It was kind of cracking me up. So, I asked him if his teachers knew that he could read already. Do you know what that little turkey says to me? He leans in like he is going to tell me something important that is meant for my ears only and says, "I kind of like to keep that a secret." Ha!

3. Because Dominic's reading abilities are advanced, it's difficult to find appropriate books for him to read. I've played around trying to pick out books for him and he's let me know that I should just "stick to the Star Wars books, Mom." Dominic asked me to read The Hobbit with him. Personally, I'm not a huge Tolkein fan. There are so many details and lots of words and it's a tedious process to get through the book. My dad suggested perhaps the early Harry Potter books (Books 1-3) and I'm tempted. But, I think I'm going to try again at the library and see what kind of series I can find that might interest Dominic.

4. Oh and this is funny, too. Dominic uses "Dom" as his name on his papers at school. I think it might be because he really does not like writing, so "Dom" is shorter than "Dominic." He also puts H after his name all the time -- even when we are signing our names for birthday cards in the family! There's another Dominic in his class, so my son is "Dominic H."

5. I mentioned it yesterday, but I'll tell you today -- I got my pull-ups yesterday! They are kipping (so not strict) but I seriously did it. One week after my post about wanting to achieve that goal, I finally did it.

6. This morning, however, I ripped a couple of the callouses on my hands doing pull-ups, so that hurt.
Hands of a CrossFitter
Hands of a CrossFitter
7. Dani has her 2nd cross-country meet this afternoon! Run, Dani, run!!

8. Can you believe we're at the end of September? The weeks haven't actually gone by as fast as they had been, but here we are at the end of another month anyway. I just realized my kids only have about four more weeks before the 1st quarter will be done for school. That's just crazy-talk!

9. Did you know that Kansas City topped Huffington Post's 5 Cities To Keep On Your Radar. The interesting part of the article was Richmond, VA was 2nd and Charlotte, NC was third. I have aunts, uncles and cousins in Richmond and actually wanted to move there myself at one point. And I have a sister and a brother who both have their families settled in the Charlotte area. Kind of fun.

10. Interesting Twitter Discussion re: discernment and having more children or whether a couple is obligated to keep having children if they are able, happening this morning.

Since we came to our position a year ago, I keep waiting for some sort of regret or wistful weeping for the children I have "foregone" but it has yet to come. I feel very at peace with our family, the number of children we have both on earth and in heaven. I love to visit and hold babies and smell them and fuss over them, but I don't feel the desire that I worried I would. I'm not sure what that means, if it means anything at all. I don't mean to be all prideful and say something to the effect -- "Of course, we discerned correctly/appropriately because it's worked out to be so easy and we are at peace." But the level of peace I feel with everything, helps me to move forward every day appreciating my children, loving them and cherishing the moments I have with them (as much as I am able). Hm. Maybe a blogpost on that in the near future, we'll see.

Have a great Monday and blessed week everyone!



September 28, 2014

Paleo Challenge Part Three (the Part After)

I completed four weeks of clean eating (Paleo) and maintained my workout regimen with CrossFit. This afternoon, I went in for my post-challenge body composition. I am thrilled with the results.

As you know, I've been maintaining accountability with my posts throughout. So, I will structure this post a bit like my Part One post with sections.

How did the food part go, really?

Honestly, it went pretty well. I refused to allow myself room for cheats. I simply didn't allow my brain to entertain options that weren't Paleo. Because this was my mindset, I believe I did very well sticking to the plan. If you read my "Part Two" posts, you probably saw that I ate a lot of eggs and bacon for breakfast (and sometimes for dinner), and I ate a lot of salad with no dressing. I learned to put guacamole or salsa on my greens. I also learned to eat tacos without sour cream, cheese or taco shells/chips. And it was good!!

Did I miss anything? Yes. No lie. I missed cheese. I missed margaritas. I missed cookies and chocolate. But the biggest missing took place in the first week to ten days. From there, I was so focused on how big my size 6 work pants were, that I started thinking I might never eat another cookie, piece of cheese or taco/chip!

I did "cheat" after getting my numbers taken today. We needed to use some leftovers at dinner and I decided to allow myself one evening to have some chocolate and a bite of pasta.

However, I plan to be back on the Paleo wagon tomorrow morning and through another 30 days. I am signed up for my first CrossFit competition (scaled) on November 1 and I think maintaining the clean eating and exercise regimen will help me be as prepared as I can be for that.

How did the workout part go?

The best part of this challenge was the strides I took in the fitness area. I posted four PR's on the board at the box this month. I PR'd my Front squat by 20 pounds. I PR'd my Clean & Jerk by 5 pounds (I had been stuck at 115 for about 3 months, and just Saturday I got 120 pounds!!) I PR'd my mile run by 54 seconds by running it in 7:12. And, I got my first pull-ups! (more on that in another post :) )

But the PR's are only part of the story. I didn't miss a single workout that I intended to make and I actually made it to a couple I hadn't banked on. I was tired at times (mostly because I switched up my workouts to early mornings after doing evenings for almost a full year). But the feeling of fatigue didn't carry over into the workouts -- once I got going in the warm-ups, my body responded and worked as hard as I wanted it to. 

Body Composition Numbers -- AFTER

As stated in my initial post, the goal was to lose four pounds of fat without losing any lean body mass. You can see my initial numbers in this post, but you can also see them in my photo here:

My total mm measured on 8/28 were 137. On 9/28, total mm were 107. So I lost 30 millimeters. The biggest change was in my back area (just under my shoulder blade) going from 21mm to 15mm; my waist (losing 7mm in high waist area and 6mm in the lower waist area) and my thigh where I lost 10mm.

My body fat percentage on 9/28 is 22.9%, which is down 4% from 8/28. My weight is down from 162 to 156. I lost 8 pounds of fat while gaining 2 pounds of lean body mass. 

I'm not gonna lie: those numbers make me want to go Paleo 100% of the time forever.

Results (cont'd)
While I'm happy with how I felt diet-wise, and ecstatic at the progress I made fitness-wise, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention how happy I am with the aesthetic results. Sarah and Helen went with me to buy an outfit to wear on a date night with Craig. I'm a terrible shopper. I have no idea what sort of clothes look good on me. This is a result of two main things. First, most of my adult life has been spent living in an overweight, out-of-shape body that I hated trying to find clothes to hide in. Second, there's rarely room in the budget to buy clothes for me -- there's always something a kid needs and that typically takes priority.

Craig and me before our Date Night!
Sarah and Helen helped pick out a pair of jeans, a top and some flats that really looked nice on me. The jeans were "skinny jeans" -- my first pair! And while they feel close, they don't feel tight and they look nice on me. The shirt fits to the shape of my body and I didn't feel self-conscious as I would have before losing weight. 

When I came down all dressed for our date night, Helen told me I was the prettiest mommy in the world (which absolutely made my life). The boys begged to get their picture taken with their "beautiful Mommy." Sarah said, "Wow, you look nice. I like that outfit so much better than the stuff you normally wear." (That's 13-year-old speak for "Way to get with the program, Mom.")

Helen insisted on taking a pic of me by myself -- football game
in the background...
My baby girl and me

Even Dani agreed to a photo!
My boys and me, football game still in the background
Now, I was most of the way here before the Paleo challenge. I only lost a total of 6 pounds while doing the Paleo Challenge -- but I'm sure the combination of 8 pounds of fat lost and 2 pounds of lean body mass gained makes a difference. But, I feel even more "in control" of things now than I did even before the 30-day challenge. For the first time since I made Lifetime with Weight Watchers, I am not sweating out my weigh-in at the beginning of October...I know I'll be well under my goal weight, no worries about paying that $10!  

I'm confident as I move forward that I can continue to live at least a 90% Paleo lifestyle. And I'm shooting for 100%.

September 26, 2014

7 Quick Takes - 89

Thank you to Jennifer Fulwiler for hosting the 7QT.

--- 1 ---
I slacked on my accountability posts for this Paleo Challenge this week. I didn't fall off the wagon, don't worry! But I did simply stick to the Paleo food choices and made sure I got my workouts in, without telling you about it on Wednesday. It's funny, I go back and forth about "what's gonna happen after the Challenge" and whether I will eat or drink certain non-Paleo approved foods. I have a movie I am going to see next Friday with friends (uh, Hello! Gone Girl!! Woot!!) and I like to have popcorn when I go to the movies. Then Craig's birthday is in October. BUT then I think about how good I feel and how the bloating is gone and I dropped those 3-5 pounds I had been itching to drop and I think, eh....maybe just stick with this Paleo stuff.

Oh well, time will tell. I think a 90/10 Paleo lifestyle is still a good choice, too.
--- 2 ---
Sarah's volleyball team is now 4-0 for the season! It sure has been fun watching them play. I am proud of Sarah for many things, but specifically her passing and her serving. She has grown in her abilities so quickly over the past three years. Sometimes I watch her get an "Ace" with her serve and I get tingly all over and think, "That is MY baby?!?" And then I see her getting a good pass up that helps the team connect on a kill and think, "THAT is my baby!!!"

--- 3 ---
One more win and the Royals will be in the playoffs. Holy moly! let's goooooooo Royals!!

Speaking of the Royals, we had a surprise last weekend in that some friends could not use their tickets to the final Royals home game of the season and offered them to our family. It was a lot of fun to take the kids out to the ball park. We got some sun, though. And we got to see a win, which is always fun! The kids were so tuckered out, I didn't have any problems getting anyone to bed that night, which is always a plus in Mommyland.

--- 4 ---
Here are some fun pics you may have seen on Instagram:

In the van, on the way!
The Mommy's Girl and Mommy's Boy sitting next to....Mommy!
Craig, Dani, Dom and Sarah in the row behind us
I had originally planned on NO concessions -- but, refillable Popcorn
(with the added bonus of occupying Vincent) was hard to resist!
--- 5 ---
I finished reading a book that Sarah read last year in her 7th grade literature class called The Barcode Tattoo. Have any of you read it? It was interesting. I'm not a huge fan, but I'm interested enough to read the rest of the trilogy (The Barcode Rebellion and The Barcode Prophecy) when I can get them from the library.

I recently finished re-reading Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and need to re-read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. BUT!! Mockingjay Part 1 (movie) is coming out November 21, so I think it's time to re-read The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay ahead of the viewing. :)

I also received a copy of Jason Evert's Saint John Paul The Great that I plan to sit down and read soon. I'm not very good at reading more than one book at a time, so it might be in a few weeks, but I am looking forward to it.
--- 6 ---
I keep thinking about perhaps becoming a Weight Watchers meeting leader. But, I don't know if my personality is right for it. I have been paying attention to how people react when I mention weight loss or CrossFit. Most people seem to react as though they are intimidated when I mention some things. The last thing a room full of Weight Watchers needs is to feel like they can't do whatever the leader is doing.

I have to find a way to inspire this sort of thing:

I just don't get the feedback that I inspire this sort of reaction. and I think the best WEight Watchers leaders are those that help people believe they CAN lose the weight and they CAN make positive lifestyle changes.

So many of the changes I have made, I would never have believed I could have a year ago. Keeping conscious track of the food I eat, all the time? Getting to my workout at least 4-5 times per week, EVEN when I couldn't actually make it to the gym and I'm stuck with 100 Burpees in my living room? Yeah, right...

But, I did those things, even though I didn't think I could. I just don't know if I have that "it" factor that will help motivate others.

I'll keep mulling it over.
--- 7 ---
This weekend, Craig and I are joining fellow CrossFitters for an outing to Comedy City. I don't think I've mentioned much about the previous lives Craig and I lived before having children, but Craig was an improv performer with ComedySportz (now Kansas City's is called Comedy City). I waited tables and he performed every weekend. It was what we did on the weekends. Many of the people who were there (and still are there!) attended our wedding. We haven't been to a show in years. I know it's been over a decade. Maybe Sarah was a baby or almost 2 or something the last time he and I made it to a show.

So, we're really looking forward to seeing a show. The place has new owners now, but we know them and I was really happy they bought it when they did! I'm sure they have been doing an incredible job with it. Should be fun!!

Be sure to go visit Jen Fulwiler at Conversion Diary!






September 22, 2014

"Fran," Pull-ups and Me


I see her up there on the board, mocking me…challenging me.


Thrusters, then burpees.
90 reps total -- which I would find out in just a few minutes that it would take me 6 minutes 30 seconds to complete.

My heart starts beating faster just as I anticipate her domination of the next few minutes of my life.
The only way to finish is to start, and the coach says, “10 seconds!” and they count down. I hear the three beeps that signal “3..2..1” and I hoist that 65-pound bar into a clean and start the thrusters (a front squat into an overhead press).

Oh the way my mind wanders as I do the thrusters! Gotta focus on anything besides the fact that I'm doing thrusters. I think about how the coach just said, “This workout is meant to be unbroken…” and I wonder how many thrusters I will get unbroken this time. I want 21…but I realize at 11, that I need to drop the bar and reset because my brain needs the 5 seconds to reassure -- Yes, I can do another 10.
From the bar, I move on to the pull-up bar and I start doing jumping pull-ups because I haven’t mastered a pull-up yet. I get through five of them and I wonder just when I will get that darn pull-up!?! I power through another 10 and I start thinking, “Gosh, I have to be getting close to getting those darn pull-ups…I wish I could be doing this workout Rx.” While I finish my last 6 jumping pull-ups, I marvel at the guy who is already on his round of 9 pull-ups and think, ”...someday I will do this workout Rx.”

Back on the bar and I think, “Only 15 this time.” ONLY 15 front squats into overhead presses. I’m trying to string them all together, I don’t want to drop…but, after 8, down goes the bar. My brain needs that break – I don’t believe for a minute that it's my body that gives out. I definitely think it’s mental. I finish the last 7 and get up to the pull-up bar and do my jumping pull-ups.
Then back to the bar for 9 more reps and I bargain with myself. “Break it into 3…” and then, “no…string them all” but alas, my mental state falters after 5 and I drop the bar, reset and then complete the rest. I get the jumping pull-ups done and I complete the workout a minute faster than the last time I did it.
When you are doing CrossFit, you hear about “Fran” all the time. It’s like the gold standard of the CrossFit workout. It drains you like nothing else…Rx or not. This morning, I seriously started  to contemplate my problem in attaining these elusive pull-ups. I think I should have them by now. Darn it all – what is my problem? And, so I’m newly motivated to get this. I guess I just haven't formed the strength required. Most of what I read mentions that most women's problems with getting pull-ups is the strength. I had started thinking that couldn't be it, but I suppose it is.
A few weeks ago, I swore off the banded pull-ups. I had heard enough coaches mention that they wouldn’t help me actually get pull-ups and I read a quite a few articles like this one and this one. I think I'm convinced that the way to improve pull-ups is not to keep using bands. I've been doing ring rows when the WODs called for pull-ups or -- as in "Fran" today, doing jumping pull-ups. I'm not sure I get the full range of motion with a jumping pull-up, but it's definitely a workout. The stuff I have read puts forth some things to do that will help – things like dead hangs on a daily basis to improve grip strength, Negative reps (haven’t had time to try this yet), segmented and barbell-assisted pull-ups. I just need to either get to workout 15 minutes early or stay late to do this extra work for awhile.
I remember when I got toes-to-bar, I worked on them almost every time I was at the gym. I’d just get up on the bar and do a toes-to-bar rep/attempt after the workout on my way out. I guess I should try the same with pull-ups – just get up there and try to get a pull-up every day on top of doing some extra work like negative reps, barbell assisted, dead hangs, etc.

All I know is that the next time I do “Fran” I really want to be doing pull-ups along with the Rx Thrusters. As much as it will kill, it will also be a thrill if I can make it happen.

Paleo Challenge Part Two (the Part During) - 9

Accountability post in 3...2...1...

So, the weekends are getting easier and easier to get through on this. I have even thought (GASP!) that I could potentially stay Paleo indefinitely. I suppose that is the point, right? And no matter what I think I'm definitely going to be going for 90% Paleo regardless. I think it's unrealistic to believe I would go the rest of my life without beer or my margaritas.

Saturday Food
Breakfast: After getting up and getting a run in (a run which really kinda sucked, by the way) I had a terrific breakfast of 3 eggs, 3 slices bacon, blackberries and a sliced avocado.
It was  YUMMY!
Breakfast was late and also big AND I was getting my hair done over the lunch hour...
This color and style has really grown on me -- I love it!
So, I SNACKed on almonds.

Dinner: Taco night! so I had my taco meat with lettuce, tomatoes, salsa and a few olives.

Saturday Workout: 3 mile run that, as I said before, really sucked. My legs were sore and I think I was trying to go faster than I should have. But, I was glad to have done it anyway and I resolved to have a Sunday rest day.

Sunday Food
Breakfast: 3 slices of bacon. I made Sarah an omelette, but I wasn't all that hungry so I didn't eat one myself.

Sunday Lunch -- was kind of just water. We took the kids to the ballpark to watch the Royals last home game of the season. Needless to say, nothing there is Paleo and I can't afford to buy it anyway!! I'm rather surprised, however, that I really was not hungry. Water was about all I needed.

Sunday Dinner -- To start off I had a bed of romaine lettuce with salsa mixed in. Then, I cooked our asparagus in bunches of 5 stalks wrapped in a piece of bacon. My kids enjoyed it and yes! -- my new favorite way to eat asparagus!! I also cooked a ribeye steak and ate the whole thing. I put the other one away for Monday's breakfast.

Sunday Workout: Rest

10 more days of the Paleo Challenge!!



September 20, 2014

Paleo Challenge Part Two (The Part During) - 8

Accountability post (again).

Wednesday Food
Breakfast: 3 slices of bacon cooked crisp, 2 hard-boiled eggs and raspberries
Lunch: Banana (pickin's were slim and time was short)
Dinner: Chicken Breast, Romaine with salsa

Wednesday Workout: CrossFit which included some gymnastics work, climbing the rope again (yay!) and then a Benchmark WOD which was pretty much awful, but a good workout, and I was glad when it was over!

Thursday Food
First of all -- I weighed in with WW even though I am not required to do so. I dropped 2.0 pounds! Yay! I am sure that is the Paleo kickin' in on the weight front.

Breakfast: Banana and 2 hard-boiled eggs
Lunch: Lunch meeting, but they bought us Chipotle, so I had my salad that is all Paleo!

Thursday workout: Rest day

Friday Food
Breakfast: 3-egg omelette with diced tomatoes and black olives, 4 slices bacon
Lunch: Chipotle salad (romaine, steak, mild tomato salsa, guacamole)
Dinner: raspberries, banana
Snack: almonds

Friday Workout: CrossFit, did a 3-rep back squat up to 170 (1RM is 175), and it was a nice 10 min AMRAP for the WOD.


September 19, 2014

7 Quick Takes - 88

Thank you to Jennifer Fulwiler for hosting the 7QT.

--- 1 ---
So, that giveaway from a couple of weeks ago? I only had two different commenters...so I decided to make them both winners. :) I will get your info and send you the book and holy card.

Yeah, that didn't quite generate the interest I was hoping for, but that's okay. I suppose the book/holy card aren't necessarily something everyone who reads this blog would want. I really don't know how to do giveaways.
--- 2 ---
Also, a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned Sarah's volleyball team playing pool for a tournament. Well, they won that tournament! It was very exciting. Watching those girls play now, and seeing how far they have come over the years is so cool. Growing physically helps tremendously and I'm sure the gains in coordination don't hurt either!

--- 3 ---
Speaking of Sarah and ... well, 8th grade. As you know, over the years, the social stuff has always bugged me. It still does as I see that my daughter is still not included in things. What is making it easier is that she seems to be getting over it herself. She and I talked this summer about cultivating friendships with people who want the same thing with her. At the time, there were tears on her part as I am sure it sucks to hear out loud that it's noticeable when someone you want to be friends with doesn't want the same thing. Then there were tears on my part as I shared with her that I just couldn't take another year of watching her heart break over and over. That night, I couldn't be sure whether our conversation would bear fruit.

I'm happy to say that it seems to have planted some seed, and Sarah seems to have made the decision, in the very least, not to dwell on those people who do not bring about a healthy two-way friendship. And, she has spent time and effort cultivating friendships with a couple of girls that, in the past, she had distanced herself from in order to try (in vain) to fit in with a crowd that was never in the plan for her. I'm proud of her for recognizing this would make her happier. I think her coping mechanism is pretty typical for a teenager. (When I asked her if she was "ok" with a recent snub...for lack of a better word...she said, "I don't care" and then returned to the subject of another social outing with a couple of friends that she was trying to line up.)

So...I don't think her world is perfect (what 13-year-old thinks it is anyway?) but I think she's bound and determined to have a good year making memories with those who want to be around her. That's my girl.

--- 4 ---
After my post the other day, I had the inevitable Oh-gosh-did-I-just-do-another-TMI/too-personal-post feeling. But the comments were reassuring and I also received a few e-mails from people giving me support. I am happy to report that Helen had a confidence booster when she got 100% on a pretty challenging spelling assignment that was turned in Thursday. And, when I got home Thursday, she had already done her extra time reading so we could spend time discussing the two chapters she read so I could check for understanding. Maybe it will get better sooner rather than later? I'm not sure, but I am just happy to see my baby girl smile.

--- 5 ---
I weighed in at my Weight Watchers At Work meeting this week, even though I am not required to. I dropped 2.0 pounds! I guess this Paleo stuff is working. :)

Wednesday's CrossFit workout included some skill work and I climbed the 15' rope all the way to the top in about half the time! (I also had my long socks on -- see, I'm smart...learned my lesson the first time!) I also had a couple of really good WODs. I mean, they sucked in that oh-my-gosh-i'm-gonna-die-if-this-isn't-over-soon kind of way. But I actually did a pretty good job on them. And I'm pleased with my progress on my pushups. 

Check this out:

--- 6 ---
Hallie and Jen announced the location and dates for The Edel Gathering 2015. I think when the idea for 2014's event was first floated, I was really excited and thought I'd go. But it turned out the timing was off and I couldn't make it this past summer. As I was reading tweets on one of the days of the event, I said to Craig, "you know...I'm going to this next year." 

And so...I have booked my room and I am planning to go. I hope to room with my sisters. One sister already thinks it won't happen, but I hope she'll wait a little longer to decide it truly isn't doable. One sister (the one in SC) is thinking she may do it, so I will at least have her. I haven't heard from my other sister (the one in TX). 

Either way, I am happy to have it to look forward to!

--- 7 ---
I had a thought this week that my spiritual life needs some recharging. I thought about how blogging through my weight loss really helped me stay accountable and power through. So, maybe if I did a Total Consecration or a 54-day-Novena, I could blog through it and it would keep me accountable and stick with it through the end.

What do you think?

Bonus: Funny photo of Vincent! This kid cracks me up.

Silly Boy

Be sure to go visit Jen Fulwiler at Conversion Diary!


September 17, 2014

The WOTHM and School Struggles

Whenever I think about writing another WOTHM / coping post, I think I must have already said all that needs to be said on the topic, right? (For the newbies, WOTHM=Work Outside The Home Mom) But of course, not. Because life is always moving forward and there will be a new challenge just around the corner, pretty much all the time.

My new challenge involves my baby girl and school. I don't know if it was always this way or if it's a change in the way school is done now from when I was a kid. For your frame of reference, however, these days, parents are expected to be pretty involved in homework for the kids up through a certain grade. Reading WITH them, Reading TO them, having THEM read to you, correcting and working through math problems and grammar exercises are all things I have had to spend some time with each of my kids up through about 4th or 5th grade.

I've been pretty lucky that Sarah and Dani were strong readers and able to do a lot of this on their own earlier than some kids. Dani never liked being read to (still does not like to be read to) and prefers not to read aloud. I suspect this is because she is a speed reader and it slows down her experience to be read to or to have to read aloud. Sarah enjoys being read to and reading aloud and we did this through 4th grade. Now that she is in middle school, however, she does her reading independently. I try to read whatever book she is reading so we can discuss it, if she wants to. As she has gotten older, there is less time for that anyway, so it's a sort of no pressure situation. I say I've been lucky because I haven't had to spend as much time with kids and homework the past couple of years and I have seen that as good because I work full-time and then all the kids have their activities and I've added some of my own. The time just doesn't seem to be there.

This year, the luck ends. I feel like a failure right now because I see that my Helen is struggling a bit in 3rd grade. Helen has never been one to read without being assigned. She reads quite well. She's fun to listen to as she reads aloud as she uses proper intonation and inflection. But she does not really like to read. I think she runs into a problem I had as a kid where the material wasn't interesting enough to keep her focused and she will read a paragraph and still not know what she just read because her mind wandered. So she has to re-read it and that makes her mad. Her comprehension skills are not strong either and this impacts not only her reading, but her grammar and her math word problem computations. I feel like a failure because I haven't spent the kind of time with Helen that she needs.

My sweet girl, who wants to be "just like her mommy"
more than anything in the whole world
Our schedule is hectic, no doubt. Craig heads off to work shortly after I get home (and sometimes before I get home). Sarah has volleyball games and practices in the afternoons/evenings. Dani has cross country practices and swim practices all nights of the week except Wednesday. Dominic has a worksheet to complete a couple of nights a week and Vincent just needs regular attention so he's not zoning out watching a screen all evening. You notice that I didn't include anything with Helen in that list. That is how busy we are without spending extra time with Helen on her homework. And I've been working out in the mornings so I still get it in while I can't go in the afternoons/evenings right now.

This is where the rubber meets the road with regard to a WOTHM's life. It's all about balance and sometimes, there just isn't any. I had to have a serious talk with Helen last night, putting a plan together to help her strengthen her skills. We'll be doubling up the amount of time I spend with her reading each night and we'll be doing about 5 extra math word problems each night. I may even throw in flash cards for her addition and subtraction math facts because she's not fast enough with those. This will be in addition to extra spelling and handwriting practice that I already had recognized she would need.

Helen said I was "being mean" and I had to reassure her that no, I am not angry and no, I am not being mean. I had to tell her, "I am being your mommy. I have to help you." And then...I hugged her while she cried. I know her tears were those of disappointment -- she thought she'd disappointed me. And so I hugged her and said, "I love you" over and over because the last thing I want her to fear is that doing poorly in school would ever make me not love her. And I told her that, too.

Then...I sat at my computer screen for about 10 minutes. And I cried. I cried because it feels like I have failed my daughter. I cried because I love her so. I cried because I worry that even with a plan in place, she might still not improve -- and that scares the bejeezus out of me. I cried because I see so much of myself in Helen and I knew exactly why she was crying and why she thought I was being mean. Because when I was a kid and I didn't live up to people's expectations -- it hurt. I didn't want Helen to hurt. I want to expect great things from Helen, but I don't want to expect the wrong great things of her. I cried because I face week after week of having to run myself ragged to get the kids to school, get myself to work, get the kids to activities, scrape the money together to pay for those activities -- all the while trying to keep myself sane, healthy and as together as possible. And...I am not going to lie to you. Sometimes it feels absolutely impossible.

This post isn't going to have any answers. this post is simply laying it out there that I have struggles that feel insurmountable on a fairly regular basis and my only option is to power through. I can cry and worry that no matter how well I execute my plan to help Helen that she will still fail. But in the end, I must still power through that plan and try my best. I must set benchmarks against which to measure Helen's progress and I must also assess my expectations of Helen and be sure I am aligning them with HER personality and HER gifts and not her older sisters'.

Perhaps the biggest adjustment in expectations, however, has to be my own. It's tempting to start to believe everyone when they tell you they "don't know how you do it" and how "incredible" you must be to have so much together. It really is tempting...and sometimes you do start to believe it. But then the dose of humility that must, and always does, come slaps you across the face and you realize that you haven't been doing one or more of the things you need to do to continue to raise your family, keep your home in shape, and maintain forward traction in life. And it's time to reassess and change up the plan.

So that's where I am today. Just like with weight loss or getting better at CrossFit, I am choosing to look at the next day as a new beginning. So what we were doing wasn't working? Let's try this and see if it does. I just wish that when it was time to change things up, it wasn't so much like throwing a bunch of stuff to a wall and seeing what sticks. But I suppose that's life sometimes.


Paleo Challenge Part Two (The Part During) - 7

Accountability post following.

Monday Food
Breakfast: 3 hard-boiled eggs
Lunch: had another lunch in the Executive Dining Room at work. Chicken, cauliflower, fruit bowl.
Snack: Almonds
Dinner: 4 slices of cooked, crisp bacon, Avocado and tomato slices, romaine lettuce with salsa

Monday Workout: CrossFit which included me climbing the 15' rope in about half the time as the last time I did it. Then we did what is called a "benchmark WOD" that was pretty much awful, but a great workout.

Tuesday Food
Breakfast: Banana and 3 slices of cooked, crisp bacon
Lunch: Made a salad of all fresh veggies at Jason's and added 3 hard-boiled eggs for the protein part (no dressing)
Snack:  Almonds
Dinner: Romaine with salsa and strip steak

Tuesday Workout: CrossFit which included a good 30 minutes of strength training (Push Press, Push Jerk and Front Squats) and then a WOD that was more like a sprint that had rowing, pushups and front squats. It was a good fast workout, which I like to have -- especially when I need to rush home to get ready for work!

I am gonna go ahead and let you know that my size 6 work pants are feeling awful loose these days. I'm surprised because as of last weight check, I haven't lost any weight. So maybe I'm using up fat stores and my body fat percentage is decreasing? I hope so!!

One of my favorite quotes from a movie, ever.

September 15, 2014

Paleo Challenge Part Two (the Part During) -- 6

The Next Paleo Accountability Post :)

Saturday Food
Midday (went to CrossFit so didn't eat until later): Bacon and fried eggs

Dinner: Strip Steak over lettuce with salsa

Saturday Workout: CrossFit WOD with Craig. I PR'd on the Front Squat at 140#. Then I went on to do a 3 rep-max at 135# making me think I could probably do a 1 rep max higher than 140#. Go Figure.

Sunday Food
Breakfast: 2 hard-boiled eggs, bacon, tomato and avocado slices. Yum!

Breakfast was late, then I went for a run, so I had an early dinner...

Dinner: Rotisserie chicken with Romaine lettuce and sliced tomato

Sunday Workout: 3.0 mile run that was pretty rough as my legs were very sore!

September 13, 2014

Paleo Challenge Part Two (the Part During) - 5

Another few days sticking to Paleo. It's funny, I'm tempted at times to "cheat" and have something that isn't Paleo. But then, I think..."nah, don't do it...make it one more day" and I pass on it. I still miss cheese though. And Margaritas. :)

I guess when I think about veering, I can remember this...

Wednesday Food
Breakfast: 3 pieces of crisp cooked bacon

Lunch: 2 hard boiled eggs, fresh salad veggies with no dressing and some grilled chicken

Dinner: 4 oz hamburger with Romaine lettuce with salsa

Wednesday Workout was CrossFit. A WOD called "King Kong" and yes...it was hard like that. :)

Thursday Food

Breakfast: Banana (I was running late)

Lunch: Chicken breast, Romaine and another banana

Dinner: Tuna Steak, grilled along with some bacon (6 pieces) and romaine with salsa.

Nighttime snack: raspberries

Thursday Workout -- I took a rest day from working out.

Friday Food
Breakfast: New York strip steak and 3 eggs

Lunch: I went to Chipotle and got a salad that had no rice or beans, but did have the grilled vegetables and the steak along with the tomato salsa and guacamole. How much do I LOVE that Guacamole is Paleo? (very very much, actually)

Dinner: Craig had made tacos, so I had taco meat on lettuce with tomatoes and salsa and a few black olives.

Friday Workout was CrossFit which included lots of Split Jerks and Push Presses, then a double-WOD. It was a good/hard workout!

September 11, 2014

Weight Watchers Wednesday (23) -- Thoughts on Before/After

I know, it's Thursday. But, I wanted to get my monthly weigh-in with Weight Watchers At Work before I posted. Also, this will be a nice little break from Paleo Challenge posts!

I attended the At Work meeting today and weighed in for September at 159.8. That is 0.6 more than last month's weigh-in, but still under my goal weight of 160.

I have been thinking a lot about this weight loss thing the past week. Mostly, I have been thinking about my mindset before and my mindset now.

You know what? I used to be one of those people who would say, "BMI is crap. That is an unrealistic weight for someone with my build and my height." Or, I would say, "I just can't get under 170 pounds. It's just impossible."

I would say those things because I hadn't achieved that BMI in a healthy way in all of my adult life. And honestly, I think my peak fertility must be somewhere under 170, because any time I did actually lose enough weight to be under 170, I got pregnant as soon as we tried.

When I think back to how my mindset, I am sad at how defeated I must have been. I had been overweight for so long, that I had simply convinced myself that God made me this way, and I should just be happy with myself.

In the meeting today, the topic turned toward "What brought you to Weight Watchers?" or what was the main motivation or the catalyst where we decided, "Hey, I'm going to (re)join Weight Watchers and lose this weight!"?

As I reflect on this last time that I rejoined Weight Watchers, I focused on what was going on:
All of those factors gave me this feeling of, "I have to do this and I have to do it now." With five active children, I desired to be healthy and active so that I could keep up with all of their activities. I wanted to be healthy so I could take care of Craig, and be there for him as we continue to grow older, raising our family. I wanted to regain the fitness I knew I had when I was younger. I know I'll never be as flexible and strong as I was when I was 18, but I want to be as flexible and fit and strong as I can be at 40 and beyond.

I may have written this before, but my commitment level as I rejoined Weight Watchers on October 31 last year is unlike anything else I had to grab ahold of before that. I had joined Weight Watchers several times in the past 15 years as well as attempted other diets to try and lose weight...but never before last year did I have that desire burning inside.

Honestly, I didn't know if I could do it. I worried I would fail yet again. For the first time, I followed the WW leader's advice and set my first goal for just 5 pounds. Then I set it for 10% body weight, then I kept chipping away with manageable goals. Then, I was amazed when I'd hit the healthy range and maintained it for 6 weeks and achieved Lifetime Status.

And now, I'll be honest with you. I am shocked when I realize I have maintained for four months. Every time I have ever lost weight in the past, I have either gotten pregnant or gained weight within two months of getting to a good weight. Right now, every month, my goal is to get to the next month and still weigh-in at or below my goal weight. I haven't even contemplated "a year at Lifetime." Just "one more month." And every month, I'm happy that I've made it one more month.

I share this with you all because I think sometimes it's easy to forget that the person you see in front of you was the person she used to be. I used to be that woman who thought she was destined for an overweight existence. I used to be that woman who thought she couldn't face another day of shopping and being disappointed when nothing she liked fit. I used to be that woman who worried that her health would fail her at some point and leave her husband and children to move on in life without her.

And now.

Now, I see that it was possible and always was possible. Now, I still don't shop much, but it's not because I'm afraid of the dressing room. Now, I continue to make healthy lifestyle choices and I teach my children. I was so proud of Helen recently when she turned away a second helping and had slowed down her eating and told me, "I don't want any more. I feel full." Over the course of these last few months, Helen and I have had several talks about healthy choices, eating slowly and listening to our bodies. If I can say in 20 years that my baby girl (who is my mini-me in so many ways) has ventured on in adulthood at a healthy weight with a healthy body image intact and good healthy habits -- oh my gosh -- I believe that will be one of the main successes from this endeavor of the past year.

So, yeah. 4 months at Lifetime with Weight Watchers. Here's to the next monthly goal.